How long is a football game?

In the world of American football, the duration of a game is a topic of interest for both avid fans and curious newcomers. Understanding how long an American football game lasts can enhance your viewing experience and make planning game day activities easier. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the various factors that influence the length of an American football game, providing you with valuable insights and a clear understanding of what to expect. If you ask how long do nfl games last, we have the answer here for you!

how long is a nfl game 2023

Kickoff and Game Structure

To grasp the duration of an American football game and to know how long do nfl games last, it’s essential to first comprehend its basic structure. An American football game is divided into four quarters, each lasting 15 minutes. This makes for a total of 60 minutes of regulation playtime. However, the clock doesn’t always run continuously during a game.

Real-Time Play vs. Game Clock

One of the factors that significantly affect the length of an American football game is the difference between real-time play and the game clock. While the game clock runs during plays, it stops during various stoppages, such as incomplete passes, players going out of bounds, and timeouts. This is a big diffenrce between Football and for example soccer, where you have 90 minutes in total with Real-Time Play.

How long do nfl games last on tv?

Well, NFL games typically last around 3 hours when televised. However, the actual duration can vary depending on several factors, including the pace of the game, the number of commercials, timeouts, and instant replays. In some cases, particularly close or high-scoring games, the duration may extend beyond 3 hours, while less eventful games might finish slightly earlier. NFL broadcasts are structured to include commercial breaks during natural stoppages in play, such as after touchdowns, field goals, and punts, which can contribute to the overall length of the televised game.

Commercial Breaks

Television broadcasts play a significant role in the duration of American football games. Networks insert commercial breaks during natural stoppages in play, such as after touchdowns or field goals, as well as during timeouts. These commercial breaks can extend the length of a game considerably.

how long is a quater in football?

In American football, each quarter spans 15 minutes, totaling 60 minutes for a regulation game. These quarters are separated by short breaks and halftime. However, it’s important to note that the clock doesn’t run continuously; it stops during various stoppages, such as incomplete passes, players going out of bounds, and timeouts. Additionally, commercial breaks during televised games, instant replays, and overtime play can extend the game’s duration. Ultimately, a football game’s length can vary due to these factors, but each quarter itself is scheduled for 15 minutes of actual gameplay.


At halftime, there is an extended break, usually lasting around 12-15 minutes, during which both teams regroup in the locker rooms. This break is a crucial part of the game and adds to the overall duration.


In the event of a tie at the end of regulation play, American football games can go into overtime. During overtime, each team has an opportunity to possess the ball, potentially extending the game.

Instant Replays and Challenges

Coaches have the option to challenge certain calls made by the referees. When a challenge is initiated, the game temporarily stops to review the play via instant replay. These reviews can add additional time to the game.

Game Strategy

The strategy employed by the teams can also influence the duration of the game. Teams that run the ball more often tend to keep the clock moving, while teams with a more passing-oriented offense may see more stoppages in play.